25th December 1983, is a day I remember well, it was the day that I was first introduced to computing. I unwrapped this big box, that was under the Christmas tree to reveal this miracle of the modern age, the Commodore 64 personal computer! I didn’t realise it then but this Christmas present from Santa Claus would have a profound influence on my life. My Commodore 64 was the only Christmas present I can remember from that Christmas!
Within minutes of opening the box and connecting it up to the television were transformed from average boys too geeks! We slowly became obsessed with this box of tricks, both for two completely different reasons.
My brother who from a very early age had become obsessed about anything to do with aviation. He used to build model aeroplanes, read countless books about aeroplanes and he used to constantly scanning the skies to spot aeroplanes. I fact I remember, that as a “treat” and probably as means to keep to boys occupied my dad used to take us to Airport on the weekends, just so my brother could watch the planes take off and land! So for my brother this box, was a means of playing flying games. We would eventually have all these fantastic games such as Heathrow air traffic control, Time Pilot, Wing Commander, solo flight and a whole host of others.
For me though, the attraction was being able to instruct this box to do things. I had no idea at the time, that the skill I started to learn was called programming. To me I was just having some fun with this new computer. I could type in a few commands and I could make it do things, change the screen colours, display random characters on the screen and whole host of simple programs. I had no idea that I was learning 2 cutting edge programming languages i.e. BASIC and assembler.
That Christmas present back in the mid 80’s transformed mine and my brothers lives, he went on to become a successful airline pilot, flying all over the world. I went on to a lot more glamorous lifestyle of becoming a Computer Programmer!
The raspberry Pi is the modern equivalent, commodore 64. It’s a cheap, credit sized computer that plugs into a computer monitor or TV and uses a standard keyboard and mouse. It is a capable little device that enables people of all ages to explore computing, and to learn how to program in languages like Scratch and Python. It’s also a great platform for you to get to know the worlds most adaptable and scalable operating system Linux!
It may be credit card sized collection of electronic circuitry and components, but it is a highly capable device that can do everything a normal desktop computer can do. i.e Browse the internet, media player, making spreadsheets and documents and playing games!
Further more, the Raspberry Pi has the ability to interact with the outside world, and be be in a wide array of digital maker projects, from music machines, weather stations and smart home servers. We at threenine.co.uk have even built a secure door access controller for a government client using the raspberry pi as the controller.
The Raspberry Pi puts the fun back into computing, by being a flexible bit of engineering designed in equal parts for learning and utility. The real fun and joy about computing is not about using systems or solutions other people make for you, it’s about creating and playing around with new concepts and ideas. Computing is not about being confined to one specific device or software application, it’s about making a computer do what you want it to do. The Raspberry PI, might just be your key to a door that leads to a new life time of adventures!